Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Poop Hunt

I like buried treasure.

But, not this kind.

You see, this morning Peanut found a tiny round yellow bead in the yard.

He was fascinated by it. He held it as I changed his diaper. He pretended to eat it, grinning every time I told him not to put it in his mouth. I should have known that stinker was up to no good.

I was putting the laundry hamper at the top of the stairs and preparing to get ready for our play-date when I heard him in the pantry behind me...

"Wheh' it go?"

I turned around, responding to his precious voice. (I smile every time that kid utters a word.)

"Where's what, buddy?"

He pointed to his nose.

"Wheh' it go?"

"Did you drop something in the pantry?" I asked him.

 I still wasn't computing. 

"Wheh' it go?" he said one more time as he pointed to his nose.

At that moment the "Oh, crap" side of my brain received it's first drip of my morning coffee.


I fell to my knees, lifted his chin and peered up his nose.

Way up in the tippy-top of his left nostril lay the bead. Stuck. Like, really stuck.

I tried to feel it through the outside of his nose, hoping to push it downward and loosen it.

You'd have thought I was amputating Peanut's arm, the way he was screaming. He probably knew by the panic on my face and in my voice, that the situation was not a good one.

I tried to reason with him.

He's two. That didn't work well.

So, I did the only thing I knew to do.

I blew my nose at him. "Do that, buddy!!! Blow your nose like this!"

He looked at me, stopped crying and much to my horror, he did the exact opposite of my glorious demonstration. He sucked IN with all of his might. "No! No! Noooooooooo!!!"

I took another look.


As in, the bead is no longer visible or attainable. As in, I could already picture the X-ray and the surgery planned to retrieve this dad-blasted yellow bead.

"So much for the play-date. I'll be headed to the ER," I thought.

But, my pediatrician told me it was possible that it went down the back of his throat and he swallowed it. Also, since it's plastic, it probably wouldn't show up on the X-ray, anyway.

So, all I can do for the next couple of days is wait.

And search for buried treasure.

Every time he poops. :)

But, knowing what could be in the cards if I don't find that bead, I'll be shaken' my own booty if I find that booty.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mojo Mama

I'm getting my groove back.

I did a whoppin' seven minutes on the elliptical at physical therapy. Look out Rio 2016!

It may not sound like much, but I'm feeling my muscles working again and that is such a good feeling. I have always begrudged exercise. (And if it wasn't for my husband being the self-disciplined motivator, I'd be 800 pounds by now.) But, I am actually looking forward to achieving my work-out goals. I used to take for granted being able to just jump in my car and go to the gym. Now, I can't even do a squat without permission. So, no complaining ladies! Get your good hips out there and work out!

The season is changing in Jersey. And, since the entire family needed new threads for the fall/winter (my favorite time of year), we drove this past Sunday into Morristown to go shopping at Century 21. (Not the real estate company. It's an actual discount store full of crazy-good designer stuff.)

I had straightened my hair and tried to look as good as possible. Morristown is known for being a city full of young singles with a kicking' night-life. Not like I was going for that, but I didn't want to go into "Jerseylicious" lookin' all "pony-tail-mommalicious."

We shopped for two hours. And guess what I got?

Not a daaaang thing.

It took two hours to pick out, hold up, try on and purchase clothes just for the two kids! Peanut was actually better than we expected. We only lost him once for about thirty seconds (which in a department store, seems like fifteen minutes). It was actually Opie that made the trip more difficult.

He is now in the "I-hate-shopping-but-I-won't-wear-anything-you-pick-out-because-it-looks-like-church-clothes-and-I-just-want-clothes-with-basketballs-on-them" phase. He won't wear stripes, plaids, character shirts, solid shirts, collared shirts, button-up shirts or shirts that do not pertain to basketball or another sport. And he is now at the age where you have to try everything on, because sizes vary by designer. And since Morristown is thirty minutes away, the chances of this mama driving back to return an item are extremely unlikely.

While I paid for everything, the hubs took the boys back to the car and told me to meet him there. As I left the store, I hopped onto the sidewalk and headed towards our car down the street.

On my left, there was a young, cute guy walking towards town. I didn't want to hit on him or anything, but I was feeling kind of sassy with my straight hair. (and the shopping bags were great for covering the new weight on my lower extremities.) So, as he caught my eye, I did a quick smile.


I didn't even get a courtesy smile.

"I've lost it, " I thought to myself. "Whatever I used to have, I have lost it."

I continued my stride, mourning the loss of my younger days. It was a sad day. (See? I am human and shallow at times.)

As I continued towards my crew, up ahead I noticed three more handsome guys walking my direction. I didn't even try to smile. I held my head up, but held out no hopes for even the slightest smirk.

But, as they passed by, one of them looked at me and said in the sweetest voice, "You're looking rather lovely today."

My brain went to mush. I think I muttered "Thank you." Probably incoherently, because I was in such shock. I couldn't believe it! "Thank you, God," I said. "And whether he was speaking the truth or just winning a bet, it's no matter to me!" I was in heaven. I floated all the way to the car and I couldn't wait to tell my wonderful husband what had just happened!

The moment I saw him, I blurted out, "I just got a compliment from a guy on the street!"

He looked surprised. "Really? What did he say?"

"He said, "You're looking rather lovely today.""

I was on could nine. My confidence was boosted. And now, I was gloating to my husband, in some weird way, to remind him of the fantastic decision he'd made twelve years ago to marry me.

Then Opie spoke up, in all seriousness, with the ego-deflating comment of the century:

"Mom, was the guy homeless?"



Monday, September 17, 2012

Operation: Invest in Myself

So, it's no surprise that I haven't felt quite like myself since hip surgery. Being unable to exercise for months on end does things to your body. So does being depressed and eating a bag of Oreo's, but that's neither here nor there...

Whether it's junk food or lack of movement, my body has been in dire need of some TLC.

So, since starting my new Bible Study, Take Back Your Temple (I highly recommend it.), and actually incorporating exercises into my physical therapy regime, I can tell a difference in how I look. But, more importantly, I see a big improvement in how I feel.

I've also been making myself straighten my hair...every three days. (Day 1: Wash, Straighten. Down and Gaw'-geous, Day 2: Headband Day, 3: Ponytail Momma, Day 4: Repeat) My husband loves it and it makes me feel 100% better about myself. I have also been applying actual make-up before I go anywhere, even to physical therapy. I am seeing a huge difference in how I view myself when I am all "gussied up."

Gone are the days when I could skip make-up without drawing a few stares of pity. Now, my husband will actually offer to turn the car around if we are running late and I forget to grab my make-up.

Wow. The honeymoon is O-V-E-R.

Oh well, I guess that's part of getting older.

Well, I ain't going down without a fight! So, I am busting my tail to feel like a million bucks again. It may sound shallow, but I like feeling pretty. And the way I see it, that 'shore doesn't make my husband unhappy.

So, I started "Operation Invest in Myself."

Yeah, I named it. And my hubby and kids know about it.

It's my Mission. Spiritually, physically, mentally. Anything that makes me stronger, better, happier, healthier (within reason people), those are the things I choose to do.

Mama put herself back on the Need's List! Can I get a wooh-wooh?!!

I'm not talking about putting yourself in front of taking care of your kids. ("Sorry there are no groceries, children. Mommy really needed to expand her fall wardrobe.") I'm just saying that some Moms (myself included) tend to start believing we aren't worth the time or the money, so we just keep putting ourselves last. And pretty soon, we view wearing ponytails and pajama-pants to the grocery store *gasp* as the norm.

This Operation Invest in Myself is quite time-consuming. I forgot how much work goes in to making yourself fabulous. (I wonder how much time Kim Kardashian takes to get ready...) But, it is so worth it. My kids and my husband are reaping the benefits of this Mama feeling good about herself again.

But, don't be hatin' if you see me at the grocery in my PJ's. Cuz' some days, you gotta do what you gotta do.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Be Still" Give-Away!

It's been over a week since I made the choice to be still.

It's been nothing short of amazing.

It took me a few days to get out of "blog" mode. I had moments with my boys where the nagging temptation to snap a photo or brainstorm clever, witty ways to document it were overwhelming. I had definitely gotten way out of balance and have enjoyed the transition of getting back into "normal mommy" mode. 

A few weeks ago I received an email requesting that I watch and review an upcoming women's short film called True Beauty, by Lisa Fran. It's a 3-part DVD series for women. It sounded like a great opportunity, so I agreed to watch the first of the three films and do a review.

I kept putting it off and putting it off. But, even during my "break," I felt the need to follow-through on what I had originally agreed to do. So, when Peanut was down for a nap, and the hubs had taken Opie to a birthday party, I decided it was time to finally watch the film. It was so quiet in the house (that was a weird feeling) and I was thankful to have a while to blog, without putting my kids or anything else on the back burner.

I went to the website and entered the private password I'd been given. And when the film began, the title 'bout knocked me back ten feet in my seat, ya'll.

It was: Be Still.

(Ooo-weeee-ooooo) Yeah, what are the chances?

Needless to say, I was pretty convinced that God had put this in my path for a reason. And it did not disappoint. I watched the film (it was about twenty minutes long) and was so convicted by I saw. 

It was a touching short film. Lisa Fran was so sincere and tackled a subject that we, as women, need to hear. Especially in this "who-can-do-the-most-and-still-have-it-all-together" society we live in. She convicted me on how I spend my time and excuses I make for why I'm not still. I loved the sweetness of how this stillness was portrayed. It was right on.

We are so busy. We are baking, cleaning, sewing, working, parenting, watching, typing, creating, blogging, exercising, etc. We've got parties to plan, cakes to make, houses to decorate, Facebook statuses to update and yet we keep making excuses as to why we can't slow down. But, in the midst of the chaos, we are being called by God, Himself, to take a breather and just be. I didn't realize that I'd been too busy to do that.

I ain't gonna lie. I still have lofty dreams of really growing this little-piece-of-me blog and touching thousands of women who are as overwhelmed and hard on themselves as I am. But, if trying to achieve greatness makes me lose out on a relationship with the One who is greater, than my dreams will be worthless.

I hate gettin' all serious on you. You know I like to laugh and hoot and holler with the best of 'em. But, this being still is not something to be taken lightly. Life is fast. Time goes by. And what is your life headed for? 

Being still is hard. It is un-natural. And staying fast-paced keeps us from having to face the things deep within our hearts. Even laughter can be a way to hide the reality of our soul. But, this week, as I have gotten back into just listening and being still, I am seeing how my mind is at ease. My thoughts aren't chaotic. I make better decisions for myself. And the need to impress and be whatever someone else is, seems to be dissipating. 

And that is such a good place to be.

PS. There is a GIVE-AWAY!! One lucky reader will win a copy of Lisa Fran's first DVD in the series, Be Still. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post or on my Briantics Facebook page about being stillSo, what are you waiting for?? Click on this link to check out the trailer of True Beauty, Be Still


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Final Post. Well, Not Really.

Can I be brutally honest?

I've hit a rough patch on this journey of finding myself.

Life as a wife with a traveling husband, a toddler and an active eight year-old is proving to be a lot. I have two upcoming women's Bible studies (one of which I am leading), a speaking engagement (of which I am stoked about!), and Opie just started Fall Baseball. Throw in sewing lessons, church work and writing a blog and it's a wonder I'm not in a padded room wearing a snug white jacket. 

Case in point: 

Today, as I was leaving for Opie's baseball practice, I drove to our mailbox to pick up the mail. (You have to drive around to the back of our house to an adjacent street.) As I was driving home from Opie's practice, it hit me. I never got the mail. I had driven to the mailbox, done a complete one-eighty and had never even given the mail a second thought.  

Yes. It is time for a mental breakdown break.

I love this blog. It's such a joy to write to you about life and my craziness. But, lately, it's become too much. My marriage and my role as a Mommy have been suffering. And my relationship with the One who gives me the strength to endure all of the craziness has gotten shuffled around. This can't be.

Today, I got on my knees for the first time in a long time. Oh, I pray all of the time. But, it'd been a while since I had physically kneeled to pray. There is something so powerful in that. I simply asked God to help me be still. 

So, I am taking a break. 

To be still.

To listen.

To reflect.

To be healed and changed.

To play with my boys and mentally be there in that moment.

To live a day without blogging about it.

To do away with my Pin-security. 

To put the kids to bed, without hurrying. 

To snuggle with my husband instead of sitting next to him with a computer in my lap. (Do you know how thrilled he will be to hear this?)

You see ladies, it is not possible to have it all. To do one thing, we must give up something else. 

Every day we make choices on what we do with our time. Those choices reveal what our heart desires.
Is it money? Fame? Popularity? Am I trying to prove something to others? To myself? 

The truth is, I already know I am deeply loved. By my Creator. By my family. My husband. My children. And it is that love that keeps me going. Striving. To constantly be asking, "Lord, change me. Into the person You want me to be. For You. For them. For me." 

This isn't good-bye. This is just 'you won't be seeing as much of me for a while'. I will have to post occasional stories of my crazy antics (just to make you laugh), deep thoughts I have to put into words and whatever amazing things come my way. I even have a gorgeous jewelry give-away to do. (So, you know I won't be going too far!)

But, I must live my life in the season I am given. And right now, this is the Oh-my-word-how-can-I-manage-all-of-this-insanity-without-looking-like-a-trainwreck Season. 

Now, don't lose any sleep tonight. (okay, I flatter myself) You ain't heard the last of me yet. I'm just gonna limit my writing to when I can actually do it without sacrificing my kiddos, my marriage, and my sanity. 

It's a thin thread, people. A thin thread. :)


PS. Thanks for all of your support, comments and love. It is why I do this. I can't wait to see what God has in store, so when I return full-force, oh, the stories we will share!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I ain't gonna lie.

I am pooped.

I mean, pooped.

I got back home a couple of hours ago from a one week trip visiting friends and family near Baltimore (and boy, was it fantastic!).

My husband couldn't go, so it I did it Hans Solo, which means, oh yeah, I already mentioned it...I am pooped.And because of the craziness, Friday's Oh! Snap Shots did not get done.

So, now you have proof (as if you didn't have enough already) that I don't have it all together. And yes, I could stay up until midnight tonight catching up on the blog, but honestly? I don't want to. My brain hurts, my son is watching iCarly and I really don't have the energy to tell him to turn it down, let alone ask him to turn it off, brush his teeth and go to bed.

I'm toast.

And since my oldest is starting school on Thursday, it's gonna be another crazy kind of week. (I'm Hans Solo again.)

But, this Mama's gotta keep her priorities right. And I must soak up every last minute with my little red-head before he is an official third grader. I see Opie and Peanut growing up before my very eyes. And as much as I look forward to having more Mommy time soon, I recognize all to well, that these summer days are priceless.

So, here's some pictures from our trip for you to enjoy. It really was fantastic. I am so thankful for the friends God brought into my life while we lived in Maryland for such a short time. I could go on and on, but alas...

I am pooped. And here's just a smidgen of why I'm that way....

Break #1 on the drive down.
Shooting our car in the car wash... (Peanut shirtless from OJ spill)

Break #2 on the drive down:
Amazing playground. Stick sword-fighting.

Day 1-2
The Casamento Casa.
Watching Dumbo.

Day 2
Visit to the Hotel where we lived in Maryland.
Reminisced. Precious Memories.
Day 3-4
The Manly Family.
Loved it.
Playing at the Manly Mansion.

Day 5-7
Stayed with my Uncle and Aunt.
They took us to the National Harbor.

The kids loved it. 

At the Gaylord Hotel.

At Chuck E. Cheese.
Their favorite activity of the trip.
(That's my fantastic Aunt Ann in the background)

Day 7
Break #1 on the Drive Home
Airport Playground where we used to play.
 Good times.

"You can take the boy out of the country...."

Watching airplanes land at the playground. (see it in the sky?)
Can't believe the last time I was there, Peanut was in an infant car seat and I was strolling him around. (insert Mommy tears here)

Last Stop in Maryland.
Lunch with the Casamento's to give the boys (and momma's) a chance to laugh together one last time. (and to pick up a pair of sandals that were left behind)

I didn't get to go to Annapolis like I'd wanted, but I didn't want to miss any time with the precious people God has blessed us with. 

Thanks Maryland!